The Rise of Individuated Media


Welcome to the informal Table of Contents for a work entitled The Rise of Individuated Media which examines and describes how and why the media industries worldwide are changing.

Far too many media executives and media academicians believe that the major change underway is simply that consumers have changed their media consumption habits from ‘analog’ to ‘digital’ by becoming ‘wired’ or ‘hooked up’ via desktop, laptop, tablet, and handheld electronic devices that access ‘converged’ multimedia websites operated by Mass Media organizations, and thus that the Mass Media’s centuries-long domination of the ways in which people obtain and consumer news, entertainment, and other information, will continue into the future via these online and mobile platforms.

The Rise of Individuated Media explains why those executives and academicians can’t see the forest for the trees. There is a radically bigger change underway. Indeed, we are amid the greatest change in the history of media, one far more important than the invention of broadcasting or the printing press. To learn what that change is—and it is not Individuated Media, which are merely the logical outcomes of it—visit the single webpage The Greatest Change Underway.

If you then want to know directly how the greatest change in the history of media affects the media environment, jump to the series of webpages beginning at The Spectrum of Change. Otherwise, if you want to learn what three interrelated technological dynamics ultimately caused all the major changes underway in the media environment, read the series of webpages starting with Proximate Remarks and Ultimate Causes, which will then lead to The Spectrum of Change. If you’re formulating the strategies of a media company or media industry or someone studying why the media environment is changing, knowing what ultimately is causing the changes best allows you to identify and predict what, and how fast, things will change in the future.

Amid both the Proximate Remarks and Ultimate Causes and The Spectrum of Change sections is introduced a category of uniquely new forms of media, Individuated Media, that are changing the world and ending Mass Media’s centuries-long dominance as the primary way in which people obtain and consume news, entertainment, and other information. Almost two billion people now use forms of Individuated Media as their primary ways of obtaining those contents, and their ranks will double during the next five years.

The section of webpages starting with The Spectrum of Change introduce first the ideal prism through which to see and identify the various aspects of media changes underway and then a conceptual theory called New Media Chromodynamics with which to categorize and understand the changes. The theory groups the changes into three primary ‘color categories’ and discusses the intensities and effects of the various ‘hues’ involved. The three primary categories are:

  • The ‘Reds’—comprising all aspects of change that affect media transactions and media business models.
  • The ‘Blues’—comprising all aspects of change that affect definitions and production of media contents.
  • The ‘Greens’—comprising all aspects of change that affect people’s behavior when obtaining, consuming, and utilizing media contents.

Of those three, the first to be examined are the ‘Greens’ because how people behave when obtaining, consuming, and utilizing media contents are the keys to media transactions, media business models, media production, and to the very definitions of media.

This entire work is part of what for seven years I’ve been teaching media students in Syracuse University’s postgraduate New Media Business course at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. It also is a result of 14 prior years working full-time as a consultant about how the media environment is changing and how the world’s media industries must adapt to the changes.

Online publication of The Rise of Individuated Media is currently a work-in-progress. Thirty short (three to eight typewritten pages) chapters of this work are now online, each as a webpage. A further 40 chapters are in final draft stages and will go online at a pace of one chapter every two or three days.  Because the entire work is hard to read online—any long and detailed work is, an electronic book version of The Rise of Individuated Media will be available later in 2015. Meanwhile, below are hyperlinks to the chapters that are now available online.

Vin Crosbie, managing partner of Digital Deliverance LLC, Greenwich, Connecticut, and Adjunct Professor of Multimedia, Photography, and Design at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Relations, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA.


 What is Changing in the Media Environment

THE GREATEST CHANGE IN MEDIA HISTORY — It’s not people’s consumption of media changing from ‘analog’ to ‘digital’. It’s not the Internet. It’s not consumer becoming ‘wired’ or ‘hooked up’. It’s not iPads, iPhones, Google Glasses, or Social Media. It’s much bigger than all that. Read this webpage to learn what.


Why It’s Changing

PROXIMATE REMARKS & ULTIMATE CAUSATIONS — Looking beneath the surface of whatever is the ‘Next Wave’ of change.

MOORE’S LAW ACTING ON MEDIA — How a doubling of the number of transistors in an integrated circuit in approximately every two years changes the media industries and so much else.

COOPER’S LAW ACTING ON MEDIA – How a doubling of wireless telecommunications capacity in approximately every three years changes the media industries and so much else.

BUTTERS’ LAW ACTING ON MEDIA – How a doubling of photonic capacity in approximately every nine months changes the media industries and so much else.

WHEN MOORE’S, COOPER’S, AND BUTTERS’ LAWS INTERACT ON MEDIA —  An ever-accelerating clockwork that is fundamentally changing media, commerce, politics, societies, and civilization. The three laws’ interactions are the ultimate cause of the changes underway.

‘MACRO-EFFECTS’ FROM THE INTERACTIONS OF MOORE’S, COOPER’S, AND BUTTERS’ LAWS [PART 1 OF 2] — Mind-boggling increases in the pace of change, ever shorter ‘mature’ phases for products and ideas, increasingly frenetic needs for businesses and industries to change, brand names decreasingly effect as defenses against change or decline, start-up companies having ever-increasing advantages over traditional ones, and academics and law ever more behind.

‘MACRO-EFFECTS’ FROM THE INTERACTIONS OF MOORE’S, COOPER’S, AND BUTTERS’ LAWS [PART 2 OF 2] — The end of the ‘Digital Divide’, the advent of poor countries with more advanced technologies than developed ones, increasingly larger technological gaps within peer groups, the best skill to learn, the virtual attention of ‘couch potatoes’, increasingly polarized societies, and an appointment with Fermi’s Paradox.

WEB 1 AND WEB 2 — There are only two things you need to know about the terms ‘Web 1.0’ and ‘Web 2.0’ which are stratal periods in Internet history.

SOCIAL MEDIA ARE THE INITIAL MANIFESTATIONS OF INDIVIDUATED MEDIA — Social Media are, all too often, still mistaken by practitioners of Mass Media and academicians as merely consumer-generated, computer-mediated forums auxiliary to Mass Media. In actuality, Social Media are manifestations of the opposite of Mass Media: the massive rise of what are becoming known as Individuated Media.

FLOW REVERSES — An epochal change in the direction which content gravitates and is consumed.

WHY WEB 3 WILL DESTROY MEDIA COMPANIES ALREADY LATE TO WEB 2 — The third strikes knock out out to those who have done too little too late.


How It’s Changing

THE SPECTRUM OF CHANGE — What is the full spectrum, including the ‘colors’ not easily or normally visible? What are the color ‘categories’? And what is the greatest misperception about the changes underway in the world’s media industries?

THE PRISM & NEW MEDIA CHROMODYNAMICS — What is the ideal ‘prism’ with which to examine the entire spectrum of change underway?

GREENS: THE CORE LIMITATION OF MASS MEDIA — Mass Media’s role as the dominant ways in which people obtain news, entertainment, and information, is ending because new technologies have led to much more efficient ways to match news, entertainment, and information, to each individual’s unique mix of needs, interests, and tastes.

GREENS; THE ‘LONG TAIL’ OF INTERESTS — We are each a unique mix of very few common interests, some group interests, and a very large number of specific and eclectic interests. That’s what makes us individuals.

GREENS: INDIVIDUATION ENGINES & SHATTERED EDITIONS — Search engine individuation and the natural unbundling and unpackaging of contents online.

GREENS: VERY MANY MORE PEOPLE, LESS FREQUENTLY AND LESS THOROUGHLY — The ‘Rosetta Stone’ of how consumption of contents in New Media translates differently online than in traditional media.

GREENS: THE NEW GRAVITATION’S EFFECT ON MASS MEDIA — People gravitate towards and around content online differently than they did with printed or broadcast or other traditional forms of media. So, simply shoveling traditional packages of contents online is generally a recipe for failure.

GREENS: THE MASS ‘FRAGMENTS’ INTO INDIVIDUALS — That is why Mass Media’s audiences are ‘fracturing’, ‘fragmenting’, and ‘atomizing’. There have always been as many ‘fragments’ as there are individuals. The Mass was an illusion caused by scarcity.

GREENS: LUMINOSITY — Three factors affect how sharp the effects of the change will be.

GREENS: SPECIFIC TRUMPS OVER GENERAL-INTEREST — The decline of general-interest media and the rise of specific-interest media is an effect of Individuation and the the epochal change.

GREENS: DAWN OF A NEW MEDIA — In a little more than a dozen years, Individuated media companies have become the most successful media companies the world has ever seen. Success measured by number of users, by revenues, by profits, by market capitalization, or any other measure.

GREENS: THE TRADITIONAL FLOW OF CONTENTS REVERSES — Contents in Individuated Media flow the opposite way that they do in Mass Media. Rather than people hunting and gathering from all vendors the items of contents that they each individually want, the items of contents from all vendors automatically flow to each individual according to that individual’s needs, interests, tastes, friends, location, etc.

GREENS: ONLY THREE MODES OF MEDIA EXIST — Interpersonal, Mass, and Individuated.

GREENS: HUMAN DUALITY AND SERENDIPITOUS INTERESTS — No one likes to be left out, to be caught uninformed. Individuated Media are about more precise matching of contents to those needs, interests, and tastes, and not about automatically excluding all extraneous or serendipitous contents. The editor can still use Individuated media technologies to provide the stories about which he think everyone should be informed.

GREENS: PREPARING FOR WEB 3 — The advent of Web 3 will be apocalyptic for traditional media industries and companies that fail to adapt to it. Unfortunately, far too few traditional media industries are prepared for it, instead thinking that 21st Century media will revolve around consumers visiting websites as the close of the 20th Century media did.

GREENS: THE OPPORTUNITIES — No amount of media traditionalists hoping that things are changing these ways will stop these changes. No recasting of Mass Media business strategies will prevent these changes, which clearly are already occurring. Services designed for Individuation, the new way in which people gravitate towards and around content, are the green and fertile fields of opportunities for media companies and media investments.

REDS: TRADITIONAL MEDIA EXECUTIVES’ PALLORS AND LEDGERS — It is foolish to think that the switch in people’s access and choices from scarcity to surplus hasn’t or won’t radically change how media contents are transacted and thus how media business models operate.

REDS: CONTENT VALUATION & PRICING — How and why the epochal change from relative scarcity to surplus has radically changed the values and prices of news, entertainment, and other information.

REDS: HOW UNBUNDLING AND INDIVIDUATION AFFECT VALUE & PRICE — How and why the natural ‘unbundling’ of traditional packages of contents (editions, programs, albums, etc.) place online, combined with consumers’ individuation of those contents, further radically changes the value and price of news, entertainment, and information.

REDS: CHARGING FOR WHAT CONTENT ONLINE — What contents can providers of online information successfully earn revenues directly from consumers.

REDS: NINE CHARGED SHADES — Nine quick lessons about charging for online contents.

REDS: HOW THE SWITCH FROM SCARCITY TO SURPLUS AFFECTS ADVERTISING — It is unrealistic to think that the enormous shift from relative scarcity to surplus has only superficially affected advertising.

REDS: THE INFINITE INVENTORY — How the switch from relative scarcity to surplus inverts the economics of advertising inventory sales.

REDS: WHY ‘CLICKBAIT’ AND ‘NATIVE ADVERTISING’ SIGNAL THE FAILURE — The spindrift and debris from the shipwreck caused by using Mass Media advertising theories and doctrines in the new media environment.

REDS: INDIVIDUATED ADVERTISING — Advertising is the most important category of contents for daily living.

REDS: PERMISSION MARKETING — Scarcity, surplus, and permission.

REDS: SCARCE ATTENTION SPANS — The shift in power and attention.

REDS: DUMBING DOWN — Chasing the illusion of Mass.

REDS: BRANDING IN SURPLUS— Although still very useful and valuable, brands provide ever lesser defense in an ever-changing world.

REDS: THE AFFECTS OF WEB 3 — Antiques from the Industrial Era.

BLUES:  WHY THE SWITCH FROM SCARCITY TO SURPLUS CHANGES THE VERY DEFINITIONS OF CONTENT — The Principle of Supply & Demand’s affect on news, entertainment, and information itself.

BLUES: NOW ON DEMAND — Constitutional monarchies of contents in digital republics.

BLUES: UNPACKAGED & UNMASSED — Shattered editions, ‘fragmentation’, and how the sum of the parts is now worth less in aggregate.

BLUES: ‘BLAME THE READER’ — The fallacy that the decline of the news industry can’t be due to its journalism.

BLUES: PAYMENT DEMANDED — The fallacy that journalistic or entertainment contents aren’t affected by the Principle of Supply & Demand.

BLUES: ONLY COGS IN THE MACHINE — The abnegation of responsibility by newsrooms.

BLUES: THE BLUE & IVORY — The academies that follow rather than lead it industries.

BLUES: THEORY VERSUS LET A THOUSAND DAISIES BLOOM — The lessons of Edison versus Tesla: how a little theory could save entrepreneurial efforts ninety percent of their labors.

BLUES: THE FUTURE OF JOURNALISM IS ITS CONSUMPTION — The unnecessity of attempting to fit the square peg in the round hole.

BLUES: INDIVIDUATED CONTENTS — Delivering contents that match each individual’s unique mix of needs, interests, and tastes.

BLUES: ‘COMMON AGENDA’ & INDIVIDUALS — The historical inevitability of lockstep no more in any technologically advanced society.

BLUES: EDITORIAL IMPERATIVE & SERENDIPITY — The fallacies of absolute customization and predesignations.

BLUES: WEAVE, WEFT, AND LOCAL — The threads of life and hyperlocality.

BLUES: THE VALUE OF AN ISLAND — No man is an island except when he wants to be.


BLUES: THE ALARMED NUTRITIONISTS — Information obesity and democracy.

BLUES: RESTRUCTURING & BLUE SKIES — One world, the walls come tumbling down.

THE INFRARED AND THE ULTRAVIOLET — How the interactions of Moore’s, Cooper’s, and Butters’ laws ultimately change storytelling and information.


What the Media Industries, Media Companies, and Media Academy Must Do to Adapt

THE FOREST FOR THE TREES — How and why the traditional media industries failed to foresee foreseeable changes.

THE DEAD MOMENTUM OF THE INDUSTRIAL ERA — How the momentum of a previous times tends to thwart timely changes in an accelerating world.



DOI, RIGHTS, AND COMPENSATION — The new parallel DNS system.

SUPERSYMMETRY & SUPERSYNDICATION — The necessity of a multi-industry solution in a multimedia world, and how anything is possible so long as no one takes credit.

INELUCTIBLE — The evolutionary question of how much of this century to waste?


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